“Thinking Out Loud” Takes First Place in AU’s Got Talent
“AU’s Got Talent” was held in the Howard Performing Arts Center (HPAC) on Saturday, Jan. 23 and featured acts ranging from vocalists to acrobatic performances. Each act was given a chance to perform with the hopes of winning a cash prize of $100, $200 or $300.
Andrews University Student Association (AUSA) President Jason Shockey (senior, management) and AUSA Public Relations Director Connor Smith (sophomore, international development, agriculture) hosted the event and entertained the audience with jokes that poked fun at different topics such as the Guinness World Record attempt. Shockey and Smith also engaged in various competitions such as drinking an original smoothie-like concoction created by Smith and playing creative games such as “egg roulette.”
The first performance of the night included a mini trampoline routine from the group “Hang Time” in which five audience members were chosen to participate in the routine. This act set an exciting tone for the rest of the night.
Astonishing piano pieces, energetic rap performances and a moving performance art piece are just a few of the acts that both entertained and captivated the audience. After each act performed, each performer or set of performers was asked a few questions about their performance and how they chose to showcase their talents.
In past years, judges usually decided which contestant would go home with the winning title; however, this year the audience was given a chance to vote for their favorite performance through OrgSync. During the voting process, the AUdio team debuted a new single entitled “Believing in Me” by Shaly Torres (junior, psychology).
After ten minutes of voting, the results were collected and the winners announced. Third place, which included a $100 cash prize, went to freshman music performance major Alicia Dent who covered Tori Kelly’s “Confetti.” In second place came senior biology major Luz Baez. Baez performed a moving aerial silks routine in the HPAC foyer, which was live streamed into the auditorium. When asked how she came up with the routine, Baez explained that the routine was more than a performance for her.
Baez said, “I have been writing this routine for a year now after I had surgery to remove a huge abscess from my body. I almost had cancer; everything was going terrible. During this time my friend showed me the song (“Say You Love Me,” by Jessie Ware) and it really helped me to get through my situation.”
The first place winners of the night who took home the $300 cash prize were two freshmen: Dana Wilson (music performance) and Denae Keizs (Explore Andrews) who performed an original composition called “Thinking Out Loud.” Their performance thrilled the crowd with comments on everything from joining school clubs to the attractiveness of The Gazebo’s burritos. Both Wilson and Keizs spoke about their process in creating their arrangement.
“We know we wanted to make a point and get people to learn something about it,” said Keizs, the singer and pianist of the duo.
Wilson, who began the performance with an electrifying violin riff and also shared original poetry throughout the piece said, “We brainstormed ideas and we just told each other that even if we don’t win we will still have fun.”
Seeing that it was their first time performing for a university talent show, Wilson and Keizs spoke about their reaction to hearing their names being called for first place.
“Dana got so excited she pulled my hair,” Keizs said.
“It was so much fun to be on that stage and hearing our names for first place was really exciting,” Wilson said.
When asked what they plan on doing with the money, Keizs said, “We’ll definitely save part of it and then maybe take a trip to Chicago.”
According to students’ comments, the AU talent show seemed to be a success. Matthew Agaro (freshman, engineering) spoke about how he felt about his first time attending the talent show.
“I was pleasantly surprised, and I’m really happy my favorite performance won,” Agaro said.
Many other students were impressed by how the event went.
“Talent-wise, everyone did really well,” said Carl Raynor (junior, exercise science).
Jacqueline Dohna (senior, psychology) said, “I really enjoyed every act this year and the diversity was definitely on fleek. You can also tell that a lot of work was put into the presentation.”
For those who enjoyed AU’s Got Talent, another AUSA sponsored event, “AUSA Comedy Night” will be held on Feb.13 in the HPAC with more details provided later in the school year.